With music playing in the background, CEO Jim Cracchiolo told a standing-room-only crowd, packed into the historic State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, and webcast to financial advisors and employees nationwide on May 25, that Ameriprise Financial, the company's new name, would go into effect Aug. 1.
Several thousand names
American Express Financial Advisors solicited suggestions on a new name from its 8,000 employees and more than 10,500 financial advisors and, with the help of branding firm Lippincott Mercer, culled through several thousand names before selecting Ameriprise Financial.
"The name represents our American roots ... and embodies the enterprising culture our people bring to bear in helping provide our clients the peace of mind that comes with planning for a secure financial future," Mr. Cracchiolo said in a statement.
A new logo, based on a compass, reflects the company's purpose of providing direction and support for clients navigating their financial futures.
The spinoff, expected to be completed in the third quarter, will form an independent, publicly traded business offering asset accumulation, income management, insurance and retirement rpoducts and services to individuals, businesses and institutions.
Its distribution arm and its investment, insurance and annuity financial products will be re-branded as RiverSource.
Earlier this month, American Express Financial Advisors selected Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide to create a national advertising campaign to break this fall for the re-branding. Spending on the account is expected to be about $55 million.
At Saatchi, Bob Eck a longtime account executive on General Mills International who led Saatchi's pitch for the new account, is moving from London to New York to assume leadership responsibilities on the account. Mr. Eck retains his responsibilities on General Mills. WPP Group's MindShare handles media buying and planning.
American Express Co., parent of the financial advisory unit, said it would spin off the business to better focus on its charge card, credit card and travel busineses.